Guild is Still Weaving and Spinning After 60 Years
by Sandi Fahy
Photo by SANDI FAHY
CLEARWATER - Members of the Pinellas Weavers Guild get together at the North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Center the third Saturday of each month, September through May, to share their areas of expertise. Some are proficient in handweaving and/or spinning, while others have an interest in dyeing, bobbin lace, kumihimo and other related fields such as beadwork. The guild, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006, was founded for the purpose of continuing the art of handweaving and other fiber arts and preserving them for future generations. The object of the original founding group was to bring together weavers for mutual benefit to promote the appreciation and use of handweaving and to educate the public as to the value of handweaving. Today the group holds workshops for its members to introduce them to all of the above fields. Nationally and internationally known instructors are brought in from time to time to conduct those workshops.
Last week Marcy Petrini of Jackson, Miss., who is a past president of the Handweavers Guild of America, was in town to address the group on the versatility of huck lace. The three-day workshop was held at Heritage Village. Judy Saitta was among those attending. Saitta, a past president of the guild who has received blue ribbons for spinning in Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference competition, was enjoying using a Louet table loom made in Holland to create the lace. What are some of the other items one can produce on a loom? Woven rag rugs, place mats, napkins, mug rugs, scarves, fabric for clothing, shawls and capes, to name a few.
There are some 100 members of the guild altogether. They hail from all over Pinellas County and come from Hillsborough and Pasco counties as well. From time to time, members present demonstrations for the public. You can catch examples of spinning and weaving outside the Daniel McMullen House at Heritage Village during the Pinellas Folk Festival on January 26. A demonstration of those arts is also scheduled at Cracker Country at the Florida State Fair in February.
Members are also looking forward to the Florida Tropical Weavers Conference in Lake Yale in March and Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Tampa Bay 2008 in June. The latter event will bring together weavers, spinners, dyers, basketmakers, fiber artists and educators from all over the country. Officers of the Pinellas Guild are Don Darr, president; Sandy Carr, vice president; Penny Hunter, secretary; and Diane Drutowski, treasurer.
Return to Current Edition